The Lynx and the Gophers women's hockey team are Minnesota's most triumphant sporting ventures. The Wild are the closest to our native cultural hearts. But when it comes to pure rooting interests, no one comes close to the Vikings, one of the NFL's more stable and successful franchises since arriving in the Glorious Northland in 1961. But the Period of Unspeakable Darkness — also known as the Christian Ponder Era — left fans crying for a savior to lift us from the roaring sadness of overthrown four-yard curl patterns. Enter Coach Mike Zimmer. He's slowly recreating the Vikes into an old-school team heavy on defense and centered on the run, a relatively starless squad meant to endure. The Purple are rising through the draft and forsaking spendy free agents. It may not be a glamourous path to resurrection, but it's a solid one. Captaining this ship is Zimmer, who quickly earned the respect of players and fans alike. Though it's far too early to tell, initial signs suggest he may be the best coach to prowl the sidelines since Bud Grant.